Trying a new product is like stepping into uncharted territory. New items come with all sorts of promises, but there is little in the way of a track record. Should the product fail, the consequences for a home builder are callbacks, additional cost, customer dissatisfaction, and a damaged reputation. So if a supplier or manufacturer is trying to persuade a home builder to try its product, it better have not only a decent warranty but a dealer who will support that product or a distribution chain that will back it up when something goes wrong. Even better, respondents to Professional Builder’s 2016 Supply Survey, which included members of Builder Partnerships, said they would consider trying a new product if they can see how it installs and performs or if they are shown examples of other builders having success with it.
A hard sell is a turn-off. A production builder in Ohio wrote that he wants salespeople who call on him to know what his company is trying to do with its homes “so that they will bring only those products that might make sense to us. Then the salesperson should know enough to be able to make the presentation.” More findings about what builders, architects, and designers want from their supplier partners and from new products are in the charts that follow.